I have a precious Sister-in-Christ who doesn’t celebrate Easter because of its pagan roots. I shared with her recently that I personally don’t know anybody who thinks, even for a minute, about the pagan goddess Ishtar when they’re celebrating Easter. Easter has become synonymous, the world over, with celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. Some of the customs (ie: bunny & eggs) may be borrowed from ancient paganism, but the meaning of Easter has been changed to the good news of a risen Savior. In that sense, I believe Easter has been redeemed by the gospel.
In the same manner, the Jews, in the Old Testament, likely didn’t give a passing thought to the ancient Egyptian practice of inscribing ‘truths’ about their gods upon their doorposts, yet, per God’s instruction, God’s people continued that practice, borrowed from paganism, only they inscribed truth about the God of Israel upon their doorposts (Duet. 6). Here they redeemed a pagan practice by keeping the custom and changing the meaning. It’s in the nature of God to redeem…everything. And I think we are expressing the heart of the gospel when we celebrate holidays & traditions in a redemptive manner.
One very intentional way that I seek to redeem Easter is by carefully, regularly referring to the day as “Resurrection Sunday.” And secondly, I like to refer to Easter Egg hunts as “Treasure Hunts,” as I think it’s a great moment to help children learn the beauty of Matthew 13:44: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Blessings & Happy Resurrection Sunday!